February 22, 2011

Sources for Essences

Liberty Natural, White Lotus Aromatics, and Profumo, are special suppliers of high quality essences, for those of us who like to gain exposure to and use the basic and exotic materials of fragrances and beauty ingredients. Each of them also have wonderful websites that are an education in and of themselves. I can spend a long time wandering along the paths of White Lotus Aromatics; they give in depth attention to many important fragrance components and produce an online newsletter whose archives contain much on the origin and the method of production of each essence. There is also a wealth of literary references. For example, their section on violet was full of period illustrations and included the songs of violet sellers in old London, the biography of the Duchess of Parma, and old poetry featuring the violet. There is information on the traditional production of violet perfume, from the old method of gathering many thousands of violets by hand to make tiny amounts of essence to information on modern substitutes. Liberty has an extensive botanical reference section as well as herbal and aromatherapy information and a very wide selection. Profumo has articles on a number of special natural perfume ingredients by Luca Turin and a section on the psychology of scents, and essay length descriptions of their natural essences written in language which is redolent of the original Italian even in the English translation. There are many sites that give botanical information on perfume ingredients but these have combined a direct offer of high quality examples for sale with an atmosphere conducive to daydreaming of the ethereal.
Above photo: Harvested Rosa bourbonia/Edward rose gathered in Rajasthan from the White Lotus Aromatics site.